Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe to my articles. I'll update you with lots of fun and often free adventures in your home town.
The Americans are coming. And I have but one question. What on earth to cook them for dinner?
After various cross-questionings, I learnt the following. My daughter's mother-in-law and brother-in--law were game. Meaning they didn't mind trying different things, in this case, different kinds of Australian game.
The only fruit they had not tried was passion fruit. They had heard dreadful stories about something vile we called Vegemite and had never heard of a pavlova.
The task was on. With only a few hours to spare, I set to shopping and preparing.
Despite the fact that they had just visited Healesville Sanctuary, I took the risk and hunted out kangaroo burgers; these days easily obtained from most supermarkets. We also decided on lamb as while they had tasted lamb, it was uncommon in the States and was usually shipped in from Australia.
As eat a lot of fish, we also decided on barramundi something tourists often like to try. Although this is usually tried closer to the source where it is fished up North.
Then the idea came to mind why not combine the barramundi with macadamia nuts - another Australian original.
I did my usual trick (and much recommended) of punching in the ingredients with the added word "recipe" into Google. Therefore "barramundi macadama nuts recipe" - and there were a score of recipes.
The version I decided on was basically macadamia nuts (ground with a food processor) mixed with breadcrumbs, some butter, orange zest and fresh orange juice, all mixed together and then smoothed out over the fish and baked at 170 in the oven for about 15 minutes until golden brown. The result looked stunning and tasted great.
Anything that makes it onto an Australian stamp is pretty Australian
The kangaroo and lamb were cooked on the barbecue in true Aussie tradition.
The salad was really just an emphasis on fresh Australian ingredients. Alternate slices of bright green avocado, and fresh slices of bright orange papaya set over green crisp mixed leaves. A few cherry tomatoes to decorate and freshly squeezed lime juice with a bit of olive oil. A serving of beetroot also seemed quite Australian.
The dessert was of course pavlova, but what I had discovered overnight was that there were some fantastic YouTube videos on how to decorate pavlova, including putting a layer of cream on the sides as well as the top so you could decorate all of the outside.
a typical pavlova but you can also decorate the sides
I decorated mine with passion fruit, thinly sliced strawberries and grapes. According to Youtube you can also make a rosette feature for the very centre, using a whole strawberry, circled by thin upright slices of strawberry that look like petals.
I have to admit to having bought the pavlova base but time pressures are the mother of necessity. And with a looming operation the following week, I had to conserve energy.
This dessert was named after the dancer Anna Pavlova and in this picture you can see where the creator got their inspiration for the fluffy base
Afterwards I tried to find typically Australian bits and pieces to have with coffee. This included lamingtons, home-made Anzac biscuits, and lollies not readily available in the states such as Freddo Frogs, Caramello Koalas, Jaffas, Milk Shakes and Fantales. Although given everyone was full it ended up being a take home lolly bag which they could have at their lodgings. The method of sucking coffee through the corner of a Tim Tam was also described in detail.
The meal was not however without its moments. I have to admit the brother-in-law was more than game. He not only tasted the Vegemite but dared my teenager to a competition of who could swallow a whole teaspoon without throwing up. I call that stamina.
Before the trip was over he would also visit Preston Market, where you can buy fresh wallaby and crocodile. Gamer than most I would say.
The dinner party worked. Apparently there was a fifteen minute discussions on the virtues of the Australian pavlova.
So what do you serve your overseas guests as a typically Australian meal? Something they wouldn't normally eat when they are back home?
I once served an interstate visitor, crepes with Appleberry syrup from Port Willunga fine foods (SA). This, topped with Connoisseur vanilla bean yoghurt, was much appreciated and a bottle of said syrup was duly bought and taken back home with them to WA!